THE BRONX — Bronx officials on Thursday okayed the dismissal of more than 6,000 marijuana cases.
Judge George Grasso granted a motion from District Attorney Darcel Clark’s office to dismiss the misdemeanor marijuana possession or sale cases. Possession and sale of marijuana was decriminalized and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to legalize recreational cannabis in late March.
“This means that thousands of individuals (many who are young people of color) can now
go about their business without being under the cloud of a criminal matter,” Judge Grasso said in an emailed statement.
Marijuana arrests disproportionately impact communities of color. People of color comprised more than 94 percent of marijuana arrest in 2020, NYPD data shows. About 57 percent of those arrested for marijuana were Black and 35.6 percent of them were Latino.
“We had long stopped prosecuting these offenses because they were not a threat to public safety, and they gave people a criminal record that had negative collateral consequences on employment, housing, education and immigration,” Clark said.
The dismissals will allow people to move on with their lives, Legal Aid Society Attorney-In-Charge of the Bronx Trial Office Peter Jones said.
“For decades, our clients shouldered the brunt of marijuana prohibition, losing years of their lives ensnared in the criminal legal system and denied meaningful employment, housing and other opportunities,” he said.